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Ho-Chunk tribe joins Potawatomi in opposing Menominee casino project

MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - The Potawatomi is not the only Wisconsin Indian tribe opposed to the new casino that the Menominee tribe wants to open in Kenosha.

Ho-Chunk spokesman Collin Price says there’s “no chance” his group will reach a consensus for gaming in which he called “ancestral Ho-Chunk land.”

Governor Scott Walker has been given the final authority to approve the long-proposed Kenosha casino. The Republican Walker wants all 11 Wisconsin tribes to agree to the project before he’ll approve it – and he wants them to reach a consensus themselves.

The Potawatomi has fought the Kenosha project for years, since it would cut into revenues for the Potawatomi Casino in nearby Milwaukee.

Wednesday, Republican state Senate President Mike Ellis said Walker’s conditions go against the free market – and it’s like letting Menards block a new Fleet Farm store nearby. Potawatomi Attorney General Jeff Crawford says Ellis’s comparison is not valid because Indian gaming is heavily regulated, and it’s not a true free enterprise system.

Walker said Wednesday that the tribes need to have more meetings on the project. And if there are difficulties, Walker said, “We can facilitate discussions.”

Supporters say the new casino would give $35 million new dollars to the state, while creating 3,300 jobs. Opponents say the numbers are inflated.

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